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Happy New Year Everyone! I hope you had a blast in 2011. If you’re planning trips for 2012 you should definitely include Caramoan Islands. We went there in August 2009 so this is actually an old post I had to delay uploading it since I wanted to apply some new post processing techniques I learned just recently.
If you’ve read the post on our bicol trip This is the second part I was referring to. So We came from Legazpi City and were driven by Shella’s driver to Camarines Sur. From there We took a boat ride which brought us to the main island of Caramoan, I’m not sure what its called but this is where the main town is, where the schools, church and inns are located. From there we rode a tricycle that brought us to Villa Juliana inn.
Here’s a picture of Carlo in front of the Inn. The whole inn was covered in yellow, I saw some other blogs where it was pink. So I guess the owner changes the color from time to time.
The inns were the only option we had for accomodation. The famous Gota village Resort was fully booked for the following months because of the survivor taping. It would have been much more expensive to stay there anyway. I saw several inns which looked like old houses converted to mini hotels. I just wonder if they can accommodate all the tourists on peak seasons. When we were there we were the only ones staying at the inn.
Villa Juliana inn was only a few minutes ride to Paniman beach, this was where the boats for hire are located. We were supposed to only take a trike ride to get there but the bridge was being renovated. It could only let people, scooters, bikes pass so we had to switch to motorcycles.
Abed and Nina enjoying the ride
When we got there we didn’t get trouble looking for a boat man / tour guide. It’s easy to find entrepreneural manongs going around the area.
We only had the afternoon to see the islands on our first day and it was raining! We were able to see Lahus, Matukad, Minalahos (I have identified these islands on the map above even if some dont have a 360 view, just click the yellow “Show Map” button on the left). Matukad island was where the survivor set was located, the “bantay” wouldn’t allow us to take photos so we secretly took snapshots. There is a lagoon here which I had only known now! So when you go here try to ask around how to get to it.
Here’s a picture of us in Matukad Island
After matukad we moved to Lahus island. Lahus is the first 360 shot you’ll see above. I believe this is where this ad of Ding Dong and Marian was taken. We loved this island so we spent a few hours here. It was drizzling so you’ll notice some black clouds in the photo.
After Lahus we went to Minalahos. this is the island in front of Gota Beach. Unfortunately it was already high tide when we got there so we didn’t get to do a lot, we spent maybe half an hour here and went home after.
On the second day the weather was nice. We got to see Mother of Peace Grotto, Cotivas Island, Bugtong beach and Sandbar of Manlawi Island. The Mother of Peace Grotto is located at the top of Caglago Mountain in Barangay Tabgon. We climbed 500++ steps to get all the way up there but the view was stunning. It was hot though I felt like the sun was at the back of my neck and we were sweating like crazy. But it was worth it.
After the grotto we proceeded to Cotivas Island. I didn’t see anything special in Cotivas so I didn’t take 360 photos. Cotivas is one of the places good only at a certain angle. The only thing I remembed about it was this dead tree that looked nice. Here’s a photo of it by Carlo.
We had lunch here and rested for a while. When we were refreshed and recharged we headed out to see Bugtong beach. When I visited the Caramoan islands website there was no mention of Bugtong beach or the Manlawi island sandbar but these places were the ones I liked most. Bugtong beach is a virgin beach there were no huts, sari-sari stores, no concrete structures, CR’s unlike Anawangin. The sand was fine but it isn’t compact like in boracay. It was kinda hard to walk because the sand was soft but I liked how you can leave a very distinct foot print. We spent around 2 hours here and then we headed to Manlawi island.
The gang in Bugtong Beach
The sandbar of Manlawi island is the highlight of our Caramoan trip. We enjoyed this place so much that we decided to spend the rest of the afternoon here and not see the rest of the islands. The boat man did say that the other islands we were supposed to see weren’t as majestic as this sandbar. We we’re there at around 4 in the afternoon, the water was just starting to rise so we were able to see the sandbar slowly disappear. When the water got knee high we felt as if we were in the middle of the ocean. Combined with the view of the island and the tranquility of the place it was truly quite an experience. When we got our heart’s content we decided to head home.
Fish Eye Shot in Manlawi Island Sandbar
We were only able to see 5 of the Islands identified as top 10 in the Caramoan website. I marked them x below.
- lahus – x
- matukad – x
- Tinago Beach
- Gota Beach – x
- Minalahos -x
- Sabitang Laya
- Cotivas – x
The grotto, bugtong beach, Sandbar of manlawi island is not part of the list but they’re a must see when you visit the place. Our Caramoan Trip was one of the most memorable and affordable trips I’ve ever had. I’m definitely going back there to shoot the places I wasn’t able to see. I just hope that by the time I get to visit it again It would still be the same and it has not been ravaged by tourism.